Master's & doctoral degrees

Doctor of Business Leadership

Closing date for applications for admission to master's and doctoral qualifications for 2024 academic year (some exceptions apply) extended to 31 January 2024.

Qualification code: 90071
Qualification type: Full Research
NQF level: 10
Total credits: 360
SAQA ID: 109125

Admission requirements

A 3-year bachelor's degree with 360 SAQA credits and an MBL or MBA, or equivalent degree from an approved tertiary institution with an average of 65% for the master's degree.
Students will be accepted on the following criteria: previous academic performance; suitability and viability of the intended research; adequate supervisory capacity and research expertise in the discipline. Prospective candidates must submit a proposal on the topic he/she intends to research. The Graduate School of Business Leadership (GSBL) may require the prospective candidate to pass one or more departmental examinations or to complete additional MBL or MBA modules if deemed necessary

All students with foreign qualifications, including those with qualifications from African countries, must have their qualifications evaluated at SAQA. (
Selection will be done using an approved selection procedure aligned to Unisa's policies and Procedures for master's and doctoral degrees.

Time limits for this degree

All master's and doctoral qualifications are structured over a defined period. Refer to sections 4.12 and 4.13 in the Procedures for master’s and doctoral degrees.

A student registered for a research doctoral programme must complete the study programme within six years. A student may make application to the Registrar for one additional year of study who will only consider the application if it is recommended by the Executive Dean of the College in which the student is registered.

Doctoral degree

A doctoral degree will require you to undertake research at the most advanced academic levels culminating in the submission, assessment and acceptance of a thesis. Coursework may be required as preparation or value addition to the research, but does not contribute to the credit value of the qualification. The defining characteristic of this qualification is that you will be required to demonstrate high-level research capability and make a significant and original academic contribution at the frontiers of the discipline or field. This work must be of a quality to satisfy peer review and merit publication.

Research focus areas

Click here to download the Graduate School of Business Leadership's Research Focus Areas for 2024.

Research outline (not required for the MBA, MBL, Coursework LLMs or the coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology)

Unisa’s admission policy has changed and you are now required to submit a detailed research outline for the qualification for which you apply. No application submitted without a detailed research outline will be considered. Although this research outline may differ for each qualification or academic department, the basic information required is as follows:

  • Title
  • Summary of topic
  • Short literature review
  • Expected contribution of the study
  • Methodology to be followed
  • Availability of the data
  • List of references
  • Reasons why you are interested in the topic

Click here for the guidelines on how to prepare a research outline. 

Plagiarism of any form is unacceptable. Please take note of Unisa's Policy for Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism.

Student fees and funding your studies

Application fee

Pay the online application fee of R135,00 once you have received your Unisa student number.

Please note: 

  • The application fee is non-refundable even if you decide not to study through Unisa or do not qualify for admission to Unisa.
  • Use the student number you receive from Unisa AND the application fee reference number (eg STUDENTNUMBER 5370810030). 
  • Send your proof of payment to 
  • Visit for Unisa's payment methods and banking details. 

An application for a student number does not constitute an application for admission. After you receive your student number, you must still complete the online application for admission process and upload the compulsory supporting documents. 

Student fees

Click here for the 2023 student fee information. The fee information for the 2024 academic year will be available at the time of registration. 

Students registering for qualifications through the Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) should visit the SBL website for fee information, as the SBL uses a different fee structure.

Click here for student funding/bursary opportunities.

Apply for a student number and apply for admission

Applications for admission to master's and doctoral qualifications for the 2024 academic year will be open from 11 September to 14 November 2023 (some exceptions apply).

Click here to apply for a student number and apply for admission.

Please ensure that you apply for a Unisa student number (if applicable), apply for admission and upload all the supporting documents during the application period.

You have 10 working days to upload all the supporting documents during the application period. If you do not comply with this requirement, your application will be declined and you will have to re-apply for admission during the next application period.


Only students whose application for admission was approved and re-registering students (who made sufficient progress during the current academic year) will be allowed to register online within the approved registration period for the 2023 academic year. Students with outstanding fees or a Library block on their accounts, will not be able to register online until these issues have been resolved. No printed registration forms will be accepted.

Click here for registration information.